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Turning current RAID array into a SAN/NAS

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to convert my current media streaming server's RAID10 array (Perc 6i data store for all my media files, separate from OS volume) into a NAS or SAN device that I'll be able to use along side my new VM Server (in the works). I'm going to be converting my current media server into a VM that will run on the new host VM Server. Therefore I want to be able to access my the data on my RAID array for the new virtual media streaming server (since that's obviously all the media it streams), as well as using the free space to test out iSCSI replications, etc. with the free space still remaining on the RAID array (2TB).

I'm wondering what's the best way to accomplish this (what OS to run, what hardware to use)? I'll need an enclosure that can fit 8 HDD's so I have the room to upgrade my array to 8 disks (currently 4x2TB drives in RAID10).

My main goal is to have this array with all my files on it independent of any servers that will be in use so that I don't have to worry about my data not be available if I ever have to take my server down. I have a bunch of people that rely on my media server and I want to avoid any downtime with it in the future.
Edited by PuffinMyLye - 3/9/13 at 10:18am
post #2 of 8
@OP

What OS are you currently running on that machine?
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@OP

What OS are you currently running on that machine?

It's currently running Server 2008 R2.
post #4 of 8
@OP

Here's what I'd do for simplicity.

- Buy a cheap hard drive and install Server 2012 on it.
- Use Hyper-V tools to turn your bare metal Server 2008 R2 install into a virtual machine.
- Either
  • pass the PERC 6/i through to the new Server 2008 R2 VM or
  • expose the PERC 6/i array as an iSCSI Target in Server 2012 and connect to it using the iSCSI Initiator in 2008 R2


Another option is:

- Buy a cheap hard drive and install VMware ESXi on it.
- Use ESXi tools to turn your bare metal Server 2008 R2 install into a virtual machine.
- Pass the PERC 6/i through to the new Server 2008 R2 VM
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@OP

Here's what I'd do for simplicity.

- Buy a cheap hard drive and install Server 2012 on it.
- Use Hyper-V tools to turn your bare metal Server 2008 R2 install into a virtual machine.
- Either a) pass the PERC 6/i through to the new Server 2008 R2 VM or
b) expose the PERC 6/i array as an iSCSI Target in Server 2012 and connect to it using the iSCSI Initiator in 2008 R2

Another option is:

- Buy a cheap hard drive and install VMware ESXi on it.
- Use ESXi tools to turn your bare metal Server 2008 R2 install into a virtual machine.
- Pass the PERC 6/i through to the new Server 2008 R2 VM

Well I already created a VM of my 2008 R2 install using VMware converter. However, where I'm getting confused is now that my OS drive is virtualized, what do I do with my RAID array (on the Perc 6i controller) to ensure it's always available to all my VM's. Ideally I'd like to make it available to my VM's via iSCSI. I'm just not sure the best way to accomplish this whether it's doing a fresh install of Windows Server or going with a different OS.
Edited by PuffinMyLye - 3/9/13 at 10:54am
post #6 of 8
@OP

Something has to have full control of the PERC 6/i, and since the array is already formatted for NTFS, it's probably more sensible to have Server 2012 as the host OS and let that serve up the iSCSI targets from the array. However, depending how you want to carve up the array, you may need to back up the data on the array and then restore it to one of the targets on the array.

I'm not familiar with the way Windows does things so my views are coming from a Linux perspective, where it's easy to create a volume on an array as a block device (i.e. you can format the volume like a regular disk or partition) and expose that volume via iSCSI.

From tycoonbob's other posts, it looks like with Server 2012 you can expose block devices, single files and perhaps even directories as iSCSI targets. If this is true for normal directories, it will be very easy for you to create iSCSI targets and expose them, while keeping your existing data safe.

Have a plan to back up your data though, just in case things are not as simple as I think they are.
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@OP

Something has to have full control of the PERC 6/i, and since the array is already formatted for NTFS, it's probably more sensible to have Server 2012 as the host OS and let that serve up the iSCSI targets from the array. However, depending how you want to carve up the array, you may need to back up the data on the array and then restore it to one of the targets on the array.

I'm not familiar with the way Windows does things so my views are coming from a Linux perspective, where it's easy to create a volume on an array as a block device (i.e. you can format the volume like a regular disk or partition) and expose that volume via iSCSI.

From tycoonbob's other posts, it looks like with Server 2012 you can expose block devices, single files and perhaps even directories as iSCSI targets. If this is true for normal directories, it will be very easy for you to create iSCSI targets and expose them, while keeping your existing data safe.

Have a plan to back up your data though, just in case things are not as simple as I think they are.

Yea that was my fear. Backing up my 2TB of data without my array is going to be a challenge.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Going to install Server 2012 tomorrow and fool around with and hopefully I'll be able to keep my RAID array intact (without reformatting) and still setup iSCSI blocks with the empty space.

EDIT: I'm also wondering...In my current server running WS 2008 R2 I've got a Q660 and 4GB of RAM. I also have an e6320 laying around. Since I won't be transcoding video anymore and just using this server as a file server/iSCSI drive I should be able to get away with the e6320 right?
Edited by PuffinMyLye - 3/9/13 at 6:42pm
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